Wildfires force evacuations in Mexico

Latin America

For the past two weeks, large parts of Mexico have been going up in flames.

Wildfires blazing across the country have darkened the skies, choking the atmosphere with smoke so thick it can be seen from space.

As CGTN’s Alasdair Baverstock explains, evacuations have been ordered as firefighters battle the flames.

In Guadalajara, one of the worst affected cities, the Pinar de la Venta neighborhood saw more than 600 people evacuated as wildfires ripped through their community, burning three homes and multiple vehicles.

The fires here are now under control but local firefighters say it was a challenge.

Wildfires like this are currently raging across Central and Southern Mexico, springing up at the drop of a hat, due to the increased temperatures here, the dryness of the plant life, and the late arrival of the rainy season in this part of the world.

A biology professor at Guadalajara’s Autonomous University blames the fires on the climate crisis. Jose Luis Zavala has spent the past decade studying the local environment.

“The pollution from our city is affecting the speed at which organic material in the forest biodegrades,” Zavala said. “Normally, the leaves falling from the trees rot on the forest floor and become soil, but with the slower rate of degradation, the organic material builds up. And then, when there’s a fire, there’s a huge amount of combustible material to worsen the problem.”

As the fires burn, residents here are hoping for cloudy, rain-filled skies.